Gunsmoke Wiki
Advertisement
Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke TV series logo-Black trim-Cement texture.png
Gunsmoke TV series logo

Developed for TV by

Charles Marquis Warren

Based upon

Gunsmoke created by
John Meston
Norman Macdonnell

Starring:

Theme music composer

Rex Koury
Glenn Spencer

Seasons / Episodes

6 seasons, 233 episodes (as Marshal Dillon, syndication retitling of half-hour episodes), 402
14 (titled as Gunsmoke),
20 (total seasons), 635 (total episodes)

Runtime / Picture format

Runtime: 26 minutes (1955–1961),
50 minutes (1961–1975)
Format:
Black and white (1955–1966)
Color (1966–1975)

Production companies

CBS Productions
Filmaster Productions
Arness and Company
(1959–1961)
The Arness Production Company
(1961–1964)

Distributor

CBS Television Distribution

Network / Country

CBS / USA

Series network run:

September 10, 1955 - March 31, 1975


Gunsmoke was a popular TV series of 20 seasons that ran from September 10, 1955 to March 31, 1975. t was the second Western television series written for adults,[1] premiering on September 10, 1955, four days after The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. The first 12 seasons aired Saturdays at 10 pm, seasons 13 through 16 aired Mondays at 7:30 pm, and the last four seasons aired Mondays at 8 pm. During its second season in 1956, the program joined the list of the top-10 television programs broadcast in the United States. It quickly moved to number one and stayed there until 1961. It remained among the top-20 programs until 1964.[2]

Longevity records[]

The television series was the longest-running, primetime, live-action television series at 20 seasons, until September 2019 with the 21st-season premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU).[3] Gunsmoke is the longest-running, primetime, live-action series of the 20th century. As of 2017, it had the highest number of scripted episodes for any U.S. primetime, commercial, live-action television series. On April 29, 2018, The Simpsons surpassed the show for the most scripted episodes.[4] Some foreign-made programs have been broadcast in the U.S. and contend for the position as the longest-running prime-time series. As of 2016, Gunsmoke was rated fourth globally, after Doctor Who (1963–present), Taggart (1983–2010),[5] and The Bill (1984–2010).

Gunsmoke is the last fictional primetime show that debuted in the 1950s to leave the air, and only three shows from the 1960s lasted past its final season in 1974–75.

Character longevity[]

Storyline[]

Marshal Matt Dillon is in charge of Dodge City, a town in the wild west where people often have no respect for the law. He deals on a daily basis with the problems associated with frontier life: cattle rustling, gunfights, brawls, standover tactics, and land fraud. Such situations call for sound judgement and brave actions: of which Marshal Dillon has plenty. [6]

Main cast[]

Actors appearing in more than 40% of all episodes.

Syndication[]

All 635 episodes of the television series, and almost all 480 episodes of the radio show, still exist.

In syndication, the entire 20-year run of Gunsmoke is separated into three packages by CBS Television Distribution:

  • 1955–1961 half-hour episodes: These episodes are sometimes seen in their original format and sometimes in the Marshal Dillon format. When first-run, prime-time episodes of Gunsmoke expanded to an hour in fall 1961, CBS-TV reran the half-hour episodes as Marshal Dillon on the network on Tuesday nights from 1961 through 1964. These were later rerun in syndication. General syndication ended in the 1980s, but they do air occasionally on cable TV. Local stations would show the retitled Marshal Dillon version of the series, while the series under the original Gunsmoke title (with some episodes under the Marshal Dillon retitling) were seen in the late 1990s on TV Land and later Hallmark Channel. STARZ! Encore Westerns Channel aired this version under the Marshal Dillon title. RetroPlex also aired two half-hour episodes under the original Gunsmoke title, although the episodes are advertised as Marshal Dillon, on Saturday nights from 8 to 9 pm Eastern time. MeTV announced that it will begin the half-hour black-and-white episodes beginning on January 2, 2017.
  • 1961–1966 one-hour black-and-white episodes: These episodes have not been widely seen in regular syndication since the 1980s, although selected episodes did air from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s on CBN Cable/The Family Channel, and later on Encore Westerns on a three-year contract that ended around 2006. As of January 2010, Encore Westerns was again airing the episodes. In October 2015, MeTV announced that it would begin airing the one-hour black-and-white episodes on October 26.
  • 1966–1975 one-hour color episodes: The last nine seasons of the Western, the most widely syndicated episodes of the entire series run, are still aired on some local stations, as well as nationally on TV Land and MeTV.

Since March 4, 2013, Cartoonito in the UK started showing all episodes of Gunsmoke from the Season 13 opening episode "The Wreckers" to the series finale episode "The Sharecroppers".


Episodes[]

Series overview
Season Episodes Originally aired Rank Rating Viewers

(millions)

First aired Last aired
1 39 September 10, 1955 August 25, 1956 N/A N/A N/A
2 39 September 8, 1956 June 29, 1957 7 32.7 12.72
3 39 September 14, 1957 June 7, 1958 1 43.1 18.06
4 39 September 13, 1958 June 13, 1959 1 39.6 17.40
5 39 September 5, 1959 June 11, 1960 1 40.3 18.43
6 38 September 3, 1960 June 17, 1961 1 37.3 17.60
7 34 September 30, 1961 May 26, 1962 3 28.3 13.74
8 38 September 15, 1962 June 1, 1963 10 27.0 13.58
9 36 September 28, 1963 June 6, 1964 20 23.5 12.12
10 36 September 26, 1964 May 29, 1965 27 22.6 11.91
11 32 September 18, 1965 May 7, 1966 30 21.3 11.47
12 29 September 17, 1966 April 15, 1967 N/A N/A N/A
13 25 September 11, 1967 March 4, 1968 4 25.5 14.45
14 26 September 23, 1968 March 24, 1969 6 24.9 14.50
15 26 September 22, 1969 March 23, 1970 2 25.9 15.15
16 24 September 14, 1970 March 8, 1971 5 25.5 15.32
17 24 September 13, 1971 March 13, 1972 4 26.0 16.14
18 24 September 11, 1972 March 5, 1973 7 23.6 15.29
19 24 September 10, 1973 April 1, 1974 15 22.1 14.63
20 24 September 9, 1974 March 31, 1975 28 20.5 14.04
Television movies September 26, 1987 February 10, 1994 N/A N/A N/A

[7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

Primetime Emmy Award wins and nominations[]

  • Best Action or Adventure Series – nominated (winner: Disneyland)

1956 (presented March 16, 1957)[]

1957 (presented April 15, 1958)[]

  • Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic or Comedy Series: James Arness – nominated (winner: Robert Young for Father Knows Best)
  • Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic or Comedy Series: Dennis Weaver – nominated (winner: Carl Reiner for Caesar's Hour)
  • Best Dramatic Series with Continuing Characters won
  • Best Editing of a Film for Television: Mike Pozen for "How to Kill a Woman" – won
  • Best Teleplay Writing (Half-Hour or Less): John Meston for "Born to Hang" – nominated (winner: Paul Monash for Schlitz Playhouse of Stars – "The Lonely Wizard")

1958 (presented May 6, 1959)[]

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series: James Arness – nominated (winner: Raymond Burr for Perry Mason)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series: Dennis Weaver – won
  • Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series: Amanda Blake – nominated (winner: Barbara Hale for Perry Mason)
  • Best Western Series – nominated (winner: Maverick)

1965–1966 (presented May 22, 1966)[]

  • Individual Achievements in Music - Composition: Morton Stevens for "Seven Hours to Dawn" – nominated (winner: Laurence Rosenthal for Michelangelo: The Last Giant)

1967–1968 (presented May 19, 1968)[]

  • Outstanding Achievement in Musical Composition: Morton Stevens for "Major Glory" (winner: Wikipedia:Earle Hagen for I Spy – "Laya")
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama: Milburn Stone – won

1969–1970 (presented by June 7, 1970)[]

  • Outstanding Achievement in Film Sound Editing: Norman Karlin and Richard E. Raderman – won (tied with Alex Bamattre, Michael Colgan, Douglas H. Grindstaff, Joe Kavigan, Bill Lee, and Josef E. Von Stroheim for ABC Movie of the Week: The Immortal)

Home media[]

In 2006, as part of GunsmokeTemplate:'s 50th anniversary on TV, certain selected episodes were released on DVD in three different box sets. Twelve episodes, from 1955 to 1964, were selected for the Gunsmoke: Volume I box set, and another twelve episodes, from 1964 to 1975, were selected for the Gunsmoke: Volume II box set. Both sets are also available as a combined single "Gift Box Set". A third unique DVD box set, known as Gunsmoke: The Directors Collection, was also released with 10 selected episodes from certain seasons throughout the series' 20-year history. All of these box sets are available on Region 1 DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS DVD.

Additionally, Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS DVD have released the series in its entirety on DVD for 13 years between 2007 and 2020 in Region 1 (all of the seasons except for season one and seasons sixteen through twenty were split into two volumes). A complete series box set was released on May 5, 2020. All DVDs have been released with English audio and close captioning from season 1 to 5 and starting season 6 English SDH.

DVD releases — Seasons 1–20
DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The First Season 39 July 17, 2007
The Second Season, Volume 1 20 January 8, 2008
The Second Season, Volume 2 19 May 27, 2008
The Third Season, Volume 1 19 December 9, 2008
The Third Season, Volume 2 20 May 26, 2009
The Fourth Season, Volume 1 19 October 5, 2010
The Fourth Season, Volume 2 20 December 14, 2010
The Fifth Season, Volume 1 20 October 11, 2011
The Fifth Season, Volume 2 19 December 13, 2011
The Sixth Season, Volume 1 19 August 7, 2012
The Sixth Season, Volume 2 19 October 16, 2012
The Seventh Season, Volume 1 17 December 11, 2012
The Seventh Season, Volume 2 17 February 5, 2013
The Eighth Season, Volume 1 19 May 7, 2013
The Eighth Season, Volume 2 19 May 7, 2013
The Ninth Season, Volume 1 18 August 6, 2013
The Ninth Season, Volume 2 18 August 6, 2013
DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Tenth Season, Volume 1 18 August 12, 2014
The Tenth Season, Volume 2 18 August 12, 2014
The Eleventh Season, Volume 1 16 December 2, 2014
The Eleventh Season, Volume 2 16 December 2, 2014
The Twelfth Season, Volume 1 15 September 20, 2016
The Twelfth Season, Volume 2 14 September 20, 2016
The Thirteenth Season, Volume 1 15 May 22, 2018
The Thirteenth Season, Volume 2 10 May 22, 2018
The Fourteenth Season, Volume 1 15 February 5, 2019
The Fourteenth Season, Volume 2 11 February 5, 2019
The Fifteenth Season, Volume 1 15 October 1, 2019
The Fifteenth Season, Volume 2 11 October 1, 2019
The Sixteenth Season 24 December 10, 2019
The Seventeenth Season 24 December 10, 2019
The Eighteenth Season 24 February 11, 2020
The Nineteenth Season 24 February 11, 2020
The Final Season 24 May 5, 2020

References[]

  1. "The Eastern Earps", Baltimore Sun, May 10, 2005. 
  2. Gunsmoke Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved October 23, 2014
  3. Ausiello, Michael (March 29, 2019). Law & Order: SVU Renewed for Season 21 at NBC, Will Become Longest-Running Live-Action Series in History. TVLine.
  4. 'The Simpsons' set to be the longest-running scripted TV show ever (November 6, 2016).
  5. "Taggart police drama axed by ITV", BBC News. 
  6. Gunsmoke plot summary. IMDb.com. Retrieved on September 29,2021.
  7. TV Ratings: 1956-1957. ClassicTVHits.com.
  8. TV Ratings: 1957-1958. ClassicTVHits.com.
  9. TV Ratings: 1958-1959. ClassicTVHits.com.
  10. TV Ratings: 1959-1960. ClassicTVHits.com.
  11. TV Ratings: 1960-1961. ClassicTVHits.com.
  12. TV Ratings: 1961-1962. ClassicTVHits.com.
  13. TV Ratings: 1962-1963. ClassicTVHits.com.
  14. TV Ratings: 1963-1964. ClassicTVHits.com.
  15. TV Ratings: 1964-1965. ClassicTVHits.com.
  16. TV Ratings: 1965-1966. ClassicTVHits.com.
  17. TV Ratings: 1966-1967. ClassicTVHits.com.
  18. TV Ratings: 1967-1968. ClassicTVHits.com.
  19. TV Ratings: 1968-1969. ClassicTVHits.com.
  20. TV Ratings: 1969-1970. ClassicTVHits.com.
  21. TV Ratings: 1970-1971. ClassicTVHits.com.
  22. TV Ratings: 1971-1972. ClassicTVHits.com.
  23. TV Ratings: 1972–1973. ClassicTVHits.com.
  24. TV Ratings: 1973–1974. ClassicTVHits.com.
  25. TV Ratings: 1974–1975. ClassicTVHits.com.

External links[]

Advertisement